Ready or Not   2 comments

So, I was thinking today while in the shower (the only quiet place in my house at any given time), that I was shocked to realize that this is the last week of summer.  Again!  My favorite season is sneaking up on me and I wasn’t paying attention, much to my great chagrin.  Momentarily, it circled through my mind; the changes coming, the weather coming, the routines coming (the colds and flu that are surely coming) and that quiet “ride down” to the cold dark that has started to happen when I wasn’t even looking.  Frankly, the dark season is not the best for me.  My biochemistry does not get along with low light.  I’ll live. (Probably.)  Still, there is a beautiful peace in the surrender of it all.

Surrender is something I’m not terribly good at, particularly if it’s related to change.  The psychologists tell us that change is stressful even if it’s a nice change, like a new job you love, or getting married to your best friend in the whole world.  I know that’s true.  Most of the time, though, we don’t equate change with blissful things.  At least, I don’t.  If I am in the minority here, by all means, tell me.  But given the amount of authors and motivational speakers giving talks about “How to navigate the rocky seas of change!!!” I am going to guess there are a few of us that just don’t like it much and perhaps fight it to the end, only to find out that the change happened anyway, and we wore ourselves out.  If you’re like me, you will realize it and still do it again next time too.

This all brought to mind the story of Cerridwen and Gwydion in Welsh tales.  If you know this story, bear with me, and I will keep the synopsis brief.  You can find the story anywhere on the internet now at varying levels of detail.  There are many layers of meaning in the story but I’m going pluck a layer from the top of the pile.

Imagine a young boy named Gwion Bach, who has been set to the task of stirring a giant cauldron for a great sorceress named Cerridwen.  Cerridwen is creating a special brew for her son, who is not particularly gifted in any area and the poor child is terribly unattractive.  She wants him to have something special about himself that will help him to find his place among men.  And so, Cerridwen creates the formula to make her son wise beyond the wi sdom of all other men so he will be sought for his counsel by important people.  She gets a boy, young Gwion, to stir this cauldron for a year and a day.  The very day that the stirring was done, a drop flew out of the cauldron and burned the boy and he stuck the burned finger into his mouth.   He then received all of the magic of the brew, and everything left in the cauldron was useless.  This is where things got kind of rough for Gwion.

As you might imagine, Cerridwen is furious.  I mean, she is really really furious.  She flies into a rage at the thought of her labors for her son, all lost now and she pursues terrifireed Gwion.  Gwion turns himself into assorted animals, and each time, Cerridwen turns herself into a different predator, to pursue Gwion.  Gwion flees for his life, using his many gifts to transform over and over to hide from the inevitable.  I mean, really, Cerridwen was a sorceress and she was going to get him.  That’s just a mathematical certainty at some point, right?  As a last ditch effort, Gwion turns himself into a grain on the threshing floor of a barn.  Cerridwen turns herself into a hen and gobbles him up.   Nine months later, he is reborn from her.  She can’t keep him around but doesn’t have the heart to harm him so sets him adrift on the sea where he is rescued.  (lots more mysticism in here for another time). He’s found by a prince, who renames him Gwydion, “The radiant brow.”  This man grows to be Taliesin, the most renowned bard in all the land.

One might think Gwion, soon to be Taliesin, might have submitted to his fate if he had known he would transform someday to Taliesin, who some have called the Merlin of Britain.  But I don’t think so.  I think he still would have fled, terrified, with “change” pursuing him with its fury, running for his life, even if his life was just a serving boy stirring a cauldron.  Somehow, accepting the lesser fate is less frightening than releasing ourselves to the great hungry tide that sweeps us and makes us into something even greater than we could have been.  So, if you are struggling against change, you are in good company.  I think the struggle is part of the forging process.  Struggle on, I say.  You’re going to lose because change is not going to surrender its opportunity to gobble you.  But struggle anyway and then eventually surrender because you have no choice.  See what you turn out to be later, and you will see that you were just a grain on the threshing floor and now you are greater than you imagined you could be.

When you get there, think of me.  I’ll be over here, fighting change to the death, kicking and screaming all the way.  See you on the other side.

cauldron

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Posted September 16, 2013 by Jessica in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Ready or Not

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  1. Wonderful post about change and the shifting of the seasons.

  2. So true… I think the resistance is what forces us to reach further than we thought we could. It forces us to evaluate, to strive, to push beyond, to grow (somewhat unbeknownst to us at the moment) and it teaches us a lot about ourselves. This post was so very well timed and very encouraging. Thanks Jess

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